Commuters rejoice at the West Seattle Bridge’s reopening

Sep 19, 2022, 9:08 AM | Updated: 2:30 pm

The West Seattle Bridge is no longer cut off from the rest of the city. It opened Saturday night after two and a half years of emergency repairs.

KIRO Newsradio transportation reporter Chris Sullivan drove it on Sunday.

“It was great. The last time I was on the bridge, I had to cut through orange cones and the construction zone. There was no sign of that Sunday as I zipped from I-5 into West Seattle,” he said. “I thought about the 60 miles of steel cable workers put inside the bridge as I drove over, but I had no concerns.”

There were plenty of people taking it for a test drive Monday morning.

A deep dive on the final stages of repair to the West Seattle Bridge

Long-time West Seattle resident Chuck Houston said the last two and a half years have been rough. “It’s been unbelievably difficult to deal with,” he said. “It’s added at least an extra half an hour, each way, to my commute.”

Another long-time resident of West Seattle confirms that travel times nearly doubled since the bridge’s closure. “It’s been horrible,” she said. She’s been driving south, to Burien, to get around the closure. She’s excited she won’t have to do that anymore.

Should this project have taken this long? Houston said he’s okay with timing. “It feels like it was longer than two and a half years,” he said. “Considering the hand they were dealt, I believe it was responsibly handled.”

The big question for Sullivan is what will the traffic out of West Seattle look like going forward. “I have already seen a lot less traffic on the First Avenue South bridge today,” he said. “That was a big detour route, and the merging backups on the east end of the bridge and on northbound I-5 have also returned.”

Businesses in the area also signed in relief Saturday night.

Philip Sodore, owner of The Spot in West Seattle, tells KIRO Newsradio that his foot traffic from former commuters plummeted during the closure.

“People that didn’t live in West Seattle didn’t want to even commute two miles because they would have to sit in two hours of traffic both ways,” he said.

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Commuters rejoice at the West Seattle Bridge’s reopening